The Ups and Downs of Shopping for Kids

Shopping for kids is usually pretty easy — which is good, because if you have kids, you'll probably be doing a lot of it! Kids outgrow clothes and toys so quickly it seems sometimes that they barely got out of the box or bag they came in before it's time to turnaround and buy more.

Luckily, online shopping has made it easier than ever to shop for kids. You can find children's toys, apparel, board games, sports equipment educational materials, books, puzzles, video games and everything else right at your fingertips, 24/7. You can even open a college savings account for them online.

When shopping for kids apparel and footwear, you want to know their present size, but buy a size (or two!) larger. For example, if your infant is three months old, you'd be wise to buy clothes now in the six-month size. That way, your baby can "grow" into the clothes which means you'll get a little extra use from them. Don't buy over-large kids apparel, though. Too-long pants and oversized shoes could cause them to have accidents that could injure them. Just buy a little larger, and you'll be fine.

Shopping for teens is a whole other matter completely. They'll want hot name brand designer apparel. The names for these designers changes almost daily. Whoever's in today will probably be out tomorrow. So if you want your teenagers to wear the teenage apparel you buy them and ensure it doesn't get stuck in the back of a drawer or closet, you better let them tell you what jeans, shoes and even accessories they want first. Otherwise you may well be throwing your money away.

Buying kids toys is always fun. Just be sure that any children's toy, whether it's a remote control car, Barbie doll, video game or anything else, is age-appropriate. There's nothing harder on a child than to get the coolest toy on earth but be unable to play with it or use it by themselves. Buying the right toy for the right age also ensures child safety, which is the most important thing of all, no matter what you're buying for them.

That means that it may not always be best to buy unique toys and games for children. Wonderful as they may be, small companies are not as closely regulated by the government, and homemade toys aren't regulated at all. This means that these toys probably wouldn't meet toy safety standards and would be inappropriate for children under four. To be even safer, hold off on those terrific homemade and unique toy ideas until children are at least six. This way, they'll be safe and the children will likely appreciate them more too!

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